Apparently, it’s spring in Arkansas! Sure, it’s a little early this year, but I don’t think anyone’s complaining. If you’re like me, in spring my thoughts turn to cleaning out. Cleaning out the closets, cleaning out the garage, cleaning out the garden beds… I haven’t quite mustered up the nerve to clean out the Boychild’s room. Maybe by June.
In Northwest Arkansas, like many other communities in the state, there are a number of thrift stores that offer a place to donate the things I’ve worn or looked at all winter and am now ready to pass along. But I’m not just a thrift store donor – I also buy 90% of my household goods and clothing secondhand.
Shopping thrift stores can be fun and a great money-saver if you know what you’re looking for, but you can waste precious time if you aren’t sure where to start. All thrift stores are NOT equal. You could say that I’m kind of an expert (I’m happy to take that as a compliment) so I’ve put together a list of my favorites where I live based on selection and quality of merchandise, and hope to encourage you to visit them as well.
Because who doesn’t need to add to their Moe Bandy photo collection?
Goodwill in Rogers
Goodwill popped up in every city in Northwest Arkansas several years ago, including two stores in Fayetteville. They sell almost anything you would be looking for: clothing, small appliances and electronics (note: they don’t accept or sell televisions), home goods, books, artwork and picture frames, linens, and toys.
Goodwill employs a strict policy of not accepting donations of broken items and clothing that isn’t wearable due to missing buttons or holes, etc… They also don’t accept underwear (thankfully). Every week, a specific tag color is on sale for 50% off.
PROS: The Rogers Goodwill always seems to have a great selection of higher-quality shoes for sale. When I can buy a pair of $45 shoes for $4, I’m all in.
CONS: My only complaint is that they sort clothing by color instead of size, on the theory that women shop by color and that they receive too many items to sort by size efficiently. But Goodwill stores in Portland and Austin can sort by size, so I know it can be done!
Some of the shoes I’ve purchased at Goodwill over the last year, from B.O.C., Minnetonka, Sperry, Naturalizer, and Timberland.
There are two Samaritan Shop locations, one in Rogers and another in Springdale. The one in Rogers is my favorite because they have a section dedicated to “vintage” items. But aside from that, they also sell a good selection of furniture – more than other thrift stores in the area.
PROS: This store’s location in Frisco Mall means you can also run over to the Tuesday Morning located in the same shopping center while you’re on your bargain-hunting spree. They also sort clothing and shoes by size.
CONS: Really the only complaint I have is that they’re closed on Sundays, so I can’t indulge my thrifting compulsions seven days a week.
This place is always packed with shoppers, probably due to the fact that it’s in the middle of town and it has a pricing system that goes from regular price to 25%, 50%, then 75% off, then .50 cents, based on the amount of time items are on the shelves. There is another Potter’s House in Siloam Springs also owned by the same organization.
PROS: They have a pretty strong game in the office and craft supplies section, which is one of my favorite areas to shop, and they sell sets of dishes and glassware together, rather than splitting them up into individual pieces as some other stores do. They also sort clothing and shoes by size.
CONS: The clothing and shoes sold at Potter’s House are not always in great shape, so be sure to check for busted seams and zippers or stains. Closed on Sundays.
My living room “gallery wall” was created with landscape paintings picked up primarily at thrift stores. The large one in the middle was a $10.00 find, and none were more than $20.00.
This is a newer thrift store that does not look like a thrift store at all. The boutique, which is located in a cute stone house rather than a large space with fluorescent lighting, sells women’s clothing and accessories, as well as items from Judith and James, Westrock Coffee, and The Noon Project (detailed on their website). Items for sale are displayed with an eye toward aesthetics rather than getting as much on the shelves as possible which is common in most other thrift stores.
PROS: A unique shopping experience and boutique-quality clothing at ridiculously reduced prices – in some cases, over $100 off retail price!
CONS: Merchandise is limited to women’s clothing and accessories. But maybe that’s not a “con” at all??
More recommended second-hand donating and shopping opportunities:
Dress for Success, NWA – This international non-profit organization has a “store-front” in the Frisco Station Mall directly across from the Samaritan Shop store. They are always in need of women’s business attire, shoes, bags and accessories to provide to women who are trying to enter the workforce and improve their lives. They do not offer shopping opportunities on a regular basis, but do have annual inventory-reductions sales that are open to the public.
Clothes Mentor, Rogers – This is a favorite store of mine, but they are a consignment, not a thrift store. They only buy and resell women’s clothing, shoes and accessories. Because they limit the items they accept to clothing and accessories that have been fashionable within the last few years, you can be on-trend without the spend. Their racks (sorted by size) are full of designer and department store brands at steeply-discounted prices.
Whether you’re an old hand at shopping second-hand, or this is your first time to jump on the wagon, there’s always a chance you can find a treasure, or just save a little money. And that’s always in season, right? Share in the comments: What’s a favorite thrift store where you live?